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Contrast The American Dream With The Real Life Of The Migrant Worker

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Introduction

neat 'Of Mice And Men.' Contrast The American Dream With The Real Life Of The Migrant Worker In 1930's America, most Americans had the so-called American Dream, which was to own their own piece of land and to be their own boss. The dream came into existence in the 1800's, when land was readily available. By the 1930's, when this novel 'Of Mice And Men' was set, it was almost impossible to make the dream reality as most land had been bought beforehand. Migrant workers are labourers who work on ranches as harvesters, skinners, and swampers, carrying heavy materials and doing many other manual jobs. They work hard and earn poor wages. They also have no friends or family as they continuously travel to different ranches in California, and so therefore they have very few possessions such as tinned food, small mats, blankets and shaving blades etc. They carry their possessions in a bindle and are commonly called 'bindle stiffs' or 'bindle bums', as they carried them on their back. Migrant workers sleep in bunkhouses which are situated on the ranch. They share a bunkhouse with other workers of that ranch. There is little privacy in the bunkhouses as there are usually between four and six workers in one bunkhouse. They are allocated their own shelf or cupboard in which to keep their very few possessions. Migrant workers wear denim clothes as denim is hard wearing and so they don't have to keep on buying clothes with their hard earned money which can be spent elsewhere. Workers do not have any rights such as sickness payments, old age pensions etc, from their ranch. ...read more.

Middle

Curly who is the son of the owner of the ranch, is married and his wife is also involved in a imaginary future and she has a dream of herself as a great movie star. But in one way or another all the dreams of these workers are smashed. This American Dream makes Lennie happy as here he gets to tend rabbits and mice which he loves as they are soft, and so therefore George always repeats the dream for him. And so it seems that George is trying to help Lennie achieve the dream. And helping each other on the ranch was seen to be unusual amongst the workers, and it was different between George and Lennie and the other workers. The reality of the lives of George and Lennie was that it was a struggle even to get a job, and even with a job, funds were still insufficient to buy land, (which was their dream), let alone enjoy themselves. Life involved hard work for George and Lennie. We can see strong devotion in George and Lennie but, in reality they were living with sadistic people such as Carlson. This was seen as he shot Candy's dog which Carlson said was too old and smelly and suggested the dog was suffering and it would be better off it was killed, 'That dog ain't no good to himself. I wish somebody'd shot me if I get a cripple'. This comment seems to be the voice of Steinbeck, a pessimistic voice that understood the fate of all the disposable people. Carlson shoots the dog, and Candy's final comment about the dog influences George's decision to kill Lennie. ...read more.

Conclusion

A motionless heron swallows a water snake, the wind is a 'gust' and the dry leaves on the ground 'scudded'. Lennie kneels down at the edge of the water and drinks, but whereas earlier 'He flung himself down.... drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse'. Now he 'Knelt down barely touching his lips to the water.' The verb 'Jerked up' and the fact that he 'Strained' towards the sound of the birds, conveys his restlessness. Lennie is tormented with guilt and is confusion and anguish reveal themselves in a vision of his Aunt Clara and a gigantic rabbit. The rabbit seems to be imitating George, calling him a 'Crazy bastard'. The arrival of George settles Lennie and pathetically, knowing he has done a 'Bad thing'. He waits to be scolded. George goes through the motions of saying how easy life would be without Lennie but his voice is 'Monotonous' and has 'No emphasise'. This leads automatically to the reinforcement of their friendship and their dream. As the shouts of the men come closer, George prepares to shoot the unsuspecting Lennie. George's hand shake 'Violently' but he's fully aware of the brutality of Curly, so pulls the trigger and this saves Lennie from the vicious brutality of Curly, so then throws the gun near the pile of old ashes. Just as the fire has been reduced to the ashes so to is the dream. Slim comforts George, 'You hadda, George. I swear you hadda,' and he takes George away to get a drink. The final word is given to Carlson whose emotional limitations and lack of sensitivity are shown in his remark, 'now what the hell ya suppose is eatin ' them two guys?' Natures harmony is disrupted. By, Shrikesh Pattni 11H Words : 2875. ...read more.

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